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Elon Musk Takes a 9.2% Stake in Twitter
This story began with a tweet a little over a week ago:
Days later, Elon Musk took a 9.2% stake in the social media company, according to an SEC filing.
Twitter ($TWTR) was up 26% in pre-market hours on the news.
The conversation around Twitter’s neutrality has been evolving for some time. Many on the platform believe that Twitter’s algorithm displays inherent bias in the subjects it promotes and allows them to spread more easily while limiting the spread of tweets around other ideas.
Most users agree that some moderation is needed to maintain civility and respectful discourse. But growing concern over the impartiality of Twitter’s algorithm has led many to question whether the algorithm is making judgments that interfere with free speech itself, especially on a platform that is more and more becoming the intellectual town square.
So what does this have to do with crypto?
Twitter is the current professional and social network of the crypto ecosystem. Some aspects take place on Discord and other platforms, but the vast majority of the discourse lives on Twitter.
It has long been speculated that Twitter has implemented ‘shadowbans’ on accounts related to crypto.
There is an ongoing problem of bot accounts being used to attempt scams on unsuspecting users. But most of these accounts are beyond apparent scams and are easy to avoid. The problem lies in the volume of accounts promoting these scams.
It could be that the shadowbanning behavior is an attempt on Twitter’s part to curtail bot scams. The issue is that many larger accounts, which are clearly not engaging in this scamming behavior, are being shadowbanned. Without more information, it’s difficult to say whether this is an error by the algorithm or an intentional silencing of discourse by Twitter.
This leads us back to Musk’s stake minority stake in the platform.
The Musk Era Begins
Whatever you say about Elon Musk, his track record of operating successful businesses speaks for itself. It only makes sense that taking a large equity stake in Twitter signals that he is looking to exert some degree of influence over its operations. Of course, he has much to gain personally (he has 80.2 million followers on Twitter) and much to gain in reputation from improving Twitter for everyone else.